15 best Android apps of 2016
Here it is ladies and gentlemen. The crème de la crème. The apps that most people will swear that they cannot live without. These apps have become ubiquitous with Android and if you’re looking for good stuff it’s assumed that you have this stuff already. Without further delay, here are the best Android apps of all time!
[Price: Free / $2.99]
ES File Explorer has been around since the “good old days” of Android and has been consistently improving and evolving ever since. The app is totally free to use and it always has been without any catches although it now comes with an option pro version that adds a few new features. It has a ton of features including file browsing, root explorer, zipping and unzipping various types of archives, FTP support, multimedia playback support, cloud storage support, SMB support, WebDAV support, and a lot more. Are there other great file browsers? You bet, but there are few that have the pedigree that ES has. The only downfall is the addition of a “phone cleaning” feature which is superfluous at best, but that can be easily ignored. This app is powerful and should work well for just about everyone.
[Price: Free with in-app purchases]
Evernote is arguably the most powerful note taking application ever created. It comes with a ton of note taking features including the ability to create lists, insert audio/video/images, and all of that is synced to the cloud where it can be accessed from any web browser. There are also a host of organizational features so you can keep all this info in line. It also features collaboration functionality if you need that and it’s all wrapped up in Material Design. The in-app purchases are for Evernote Premium, which is a subscription that gives you additional features such as PDF annotation, better privacy options, and offline access.
[Price: Free with in-app purchases]
Google Drive is a cloud storage solution available on Android where all new users get 15GB for free permanently upon signing up. You can, of course, buy more if needed. What makes Google Drive so special are the suite of applications that are attached to it. They include Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides, Google Photos, and Google Keep. Between the office apps, the Photos app (which allows unlimited photo and video backup), and Keep for note taking, you have apps for practically anything you need to do in terms of productivity. Some of the features of these apps include live collaboration, deep sharing features, and compatibility with Microsoft Office documents.
Google Now is arguably the most powerful personal assistant software available anywhere. It first debuted a few years ago and has since grown into an always-on personal assistant that will tell you the weather, give you news articles about your relevant interests, manage things like plane flight information, and give you access to quick information via voice searching. It’s being constantly updated by Google to give you more information even faster than before. Alongside that is Google Now Launcher, which allows you to put Google Now right there in the home screen queue for even faster access. It’s a combination that many Android enthusiasts swear by! You can check out Google Now using the button below and you can get Google Now Launcher by clicking here.
[Price: Free / $9.99 per month]
Google Play Music is a special case. Sure there are music apps out there that let you play local content and there are streaming apps out there that let you stream content. Do you know how many apps combine these two concepts? One, and it’s Google Play Music. The service lets you upload up to 50,000 of your own (non-DRM) songs to Google’s cloud for streaming wherever you are. That functionality is totally free. On top that, for $9.99/month, you get a very above-average streaming service with over 30 million songs, playlist support, and various Internet radio options. When you add in YouTube Red, which gives additional features including the removal of ads from YouTube, and you have a truly amazing experience. Of course, YouTube itself is an app worth having whether you buy the subscription service or not.
Groupon is an insanely popular coupon app that tries to help you find deals and coupons for businesses, restaurants, and events in your area. Each coupon found can be used immediately and you can store them for later use if needed. The app itself is well-designed and it’s all very easy to use. There are a variety of uses for an app like this, including vacations, holiday shopping, and when you’re out on the town. The only potential issue is that it’s not support everywhere so you’ll need to check and see if your region is supported.
Sure we could’ve taken the cheap way out and listed Google Maps, but considering that it’s pre-installed on virtually all Google Play-enabled Android devices, it feels disingenuous recommending an app that you already have. Instead, we’re going to recommend you try out HERE Maps. This app’s claim to fame is the ability to download and use maps offline while still providing totally offline turn-by-turn navigation. Much like Google Maps, it lets you check out restaurants and various places in your area although it’s not quite as in-depth as Google Maps. It’s totally free and anyone who needs offline navigation should try this.
See also: The best apps to increase productivity!
[Price: Free with in-app purchases]
LastPass is a password manager that has always seemed like a step above the others. A recent update has made mobile use entirely free with a premium subscription service charged for syncing from mobile to desktop and back. Since we log into everything on our mobile devices now, having LastPass is a good idea. It can save passwords and keep them save all while auto-filling passwords for sites and apps that you use regularly. There is also a password generator that generates hard-to-hack passwords just for you. It’s worth checking out for sure. It was recently purchased by LogMeIn so the future is uncertain, but for right now it’s operating as it always has.
[Price: Free / $4.99]
Initially, we weren’t going to put any launchers on this list. Nova Launcher seems to be extend beyond what normal launchers are. It’s been around for years, it’s been consistently updated, and thus it’s never not been a great option for a launcher replacement. It comes with a host of features, including the ability to backup and restore your home screen set ups, icon theming, tons of customization elements for the home screen and app drawer, and more. If you go premium, you can tack on gesture controls, unread count badges for apps, and icon swipe actions. There’s not much else to say. It’s just that good.
Admittedly, Pocket is a bit more of a power user application but it’s one that we’d recommend to virtually anyone. Pocket lets you take a webpage you’re viewing and stash it away for later. This is great for when you’re browsing the news or you find funny stories from your Facebook/Google+/Twitter feed that you want to read later. It’s extremely easy to use and many of our staff swear by its usefulness. It also works with news apps like Flipboard, social media apps like Facebook, and you can share from Pocket to other apps as well. It’s totally free to use and there are even browser extensions so you can use it on a computer as well.
Those who enjoy podcasts probably have the easiest decision in regards to which podcast app that should use. The answer to that question is Pocket Casts. This insanely stable and good looking app allows you to download or stream various podcasts for your enjoyment. It features both audio-only and video podcast support so you can catch up on just about anything. There is also a light and dark theme, a sign-in feature so you can sync your podcasts across devices, and a pretty decent recommendations function. It’s the last podcast app you’ll have to download for a very long time.
[Price: Free / $4.99 per month / $49.99 per year]
Pushbullet is a unique application that can do a lot of things. Officially, it’s an app that connects your computer to your device through the web browser. From there you can do all kinds of stuff with it including answer text messages directly from your computer, transfer files, check your notifications, send messages on some (supported) services, and more. It’s a simple application that doesn’t require much tinkering once you’re all set up and ready to go. It remains of the best and most stable ways to do things like answer texts from your computer. In 2015, the app was changed to a paid subscription service for $4.99 per month or $49.99 per year with a free version that is still very useful.
[Price: Free with in-app purchases]
SwiftKey Keyboard is one of the most powerful and customizable third-party keyboards available. It hit the market several years ago with a predictive engine unlike anything any other keyboard had and the app has grown a lot of over the years. It’s a free download and you can purchase themes for it if you want to. Other features include a dedicated number row, SwiftKey Flow which allows for gesture typing, multiple language support, cross-device syncing of your library and much more. It’s about as good as it gets in the keyboard space.
Tasker is a glorious application if you have the patience to learn how to use the app. What it does is allow users to create custom made commands and then use them in various places. There are many apps out there that have Tasker support and you can even use Tasker to create very complex commands for NFC tags. It’s difficult to truly explain what this app can do because it can do so many things. Our writer Jonathan Feist has an extensive collection of tutorials on how to use Tasker and more are coming in the future.
Last, but certainly not least on our list is Zedge. This is a wallpapers, ringtones, notification tones, and alarm tones app that gives you an unbelievable number of options to customize the most basic parts of your device. On top of having an exhaustive collection of things, Zedge also promotes various items during holiday seasons making it easy to theme your phone up for Christmas, Halloween, and other holidays. It’s free and there’s a lot of content there. The only bad part is the advertising which can be a little aggressive and annoying, but it doesn’t otherwise hinder use.
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Making a list of the best Android apps is difficult because there are so many opinions on what makes an app either great, useful, or both. With that said, we would love to hear about which Android apps you consider to be the best ones in the comments below! To see our complete list of Android apps and games lists, click here!